DAN Fox may be the oldest member of England’s Hockey World Cup squad, but the Bromsgrove ace believes a blend of both youth and experience will be the key to success in The Hague.
The 31-year-old made his debut for his country back in 2009, picking up a silver medal in the 2010 Champions Trophy in between two fourth-place finishes in the World Cup and Commonwealth Games in New Delhi the same year.
This year’s World Cup in the Netherlands runs from May 31 to June 15 with England searching their first win in 13 attempts.
Of the team from India four years ago just six remain, Fox included, while 11 players will be making their World Cup debut.
But with a squad having trained together full-time at Bisham Abbey, Fox believes the current blend could prove to be a winning formula.
“Preparations have all gone well especially compared to how it all was four years ago when we were brought in for the odd weekend or a few days here and there,” said Fox.
“We’re very well prepared and there’s an interesting mix of people who have played 20 or 30 times and then people like Barry (Middleton) who have hundreds of caps.
“I’m the oldest bloke in the team now which is very strange and a lot different to when I first started.
“I think what is really valuable is that a lot of us have played in big games and the more you’re exposed to that the better you’ll be at it.
“Without the new faces though and the people who are desperate to get there and their enthusiasm then you don’t necessarily have the right motivation and mix of characters.
“A medal for us would be a massive success bearing in mind how new this squad is.
“I think we could get into the semi-finals and you never know from there what’s going to happen.”
England open their campaign against Spain on May 31 before further Pool A games against India, Malaysia, reigning champions Australia and Belgium.
The top two teams progress to the semi-finals but despite beating world number one team Australia to take Hockey World League Final bronze in January, Fox knows there is not just one team to look out for.
“Australia play attacking hockey, it’s always a great game against them and very competitive,” he added.
“Last time we played them we beat them in the World League to win a bronze medal but they are a top side.
“Looking beyond that Holland and Germany are ranked above us and then you’ve got Belgium and Spain who are a couple of other tough sides. There are no easy games.”
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